Is the humble apostrophe disappearing from our street signs forever?

For years the little marks have ensured that roads across Brighton and Hove not only have the right names but are grammatically accurate.

However conservationists claim Brighton and Hove City Council is phasing out the apostrophe on its new signs, which cost £200 each.

Town Hall officials maintain they check a number of sources when replacing old or damaged posts but said they have to use their own judgement when discrepancies come about.

Among the streets which have left locals baffled is St Leonard’s Road in Hove.

The old sign installed by Hove Borough Council has an apostrophe yet the recently installed one is missing the mark.

St Phillip’s Mews, a private road where the road sign is not dealt with by the council, is also missing an apostrophe.

King’s Road and Queen’s Road are listed with apostrophes in an 1888 street directory of Brighton and Hove.

However, both are now traditionally listed without the grammatical mark.

But others, such as St James’s Street and Queen’s Park Road, remain with the apostrophe in the right place.

Local historian Averil Older, of Goldstone Villas, Hove, said: “Over the years, at some point, the apostrophe could have been dropped but this is the ideal opportunity to get it right.

“New signs will be there for years now. They are wrong and should be spelt as originally intended, placed there by our ancestors in the city when care was taken to do it properly.”

The Argus: St Leonard's Mews right

The Argus: St Leonards Road wrong

Selma Montford, of the Brighton Society, said: “People are so messy about apostrophes these days that I bet people do not take any notice.

“Do people talk about going to Sainsbury’s or Sainsburys?

“I’m a lot more worried about people getting the Lanes and North Laine right.”

A council spokeswoman said: “All the road signs installed or replaced by the council are ordered from the nationally-used Mayrise system, which assists councils, contractors and utilities companies to co-ordinate highways services.

“This database contains some road or street names with apostrophes and some without. Sometimes there are discrepancies between the information.”

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